Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
San Diego State University lobbyists contributed to Peters
SDSU's broadcasting arm investigated campaign of Democratic congressman's Republican foe while taxpayer-funded state school was lobbying for money measures
It's been a busy year for fundraising and lobbying on Capitol Hill, especially for San Diego State University.
As previously reported, the taxpayer-funded university, through its controlled research foundation, has had an ambitious lobbying agenda in Washington this year, run by former Pete Wilson aide Ken Carpi, whose firm has been paid $40,000 a quarter by the tax-exempt organization.
According to a first quarter 2013 lobbying disclosure statement filed with the Senate and House on April 22, the specific issue handled by Washington influence peddlers Carpi Clay & Smith was "Funding for University Research Foundation projects."
Items of special interest to SDSU were listed as including "Commercialization of university research" along with:
“National Defense Authorization Act; provisions related to training centers; transitional assistance programs for veterans; regional advanced technology clusters; university research & innovation programs; military public health.”
On June 6, Congressman [Scott] Peters, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, posted an online press release following the defense act's passage out of the committee in which he boasted of the financial windfall his efforts had brought to local public universities:
"This year’s NDAA also holds significant benefits for San Diego’s military community including money for the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP) that allows universities like UC San Diego to compete for Navy related research grant programs, funding for training and operational readiness requested by the Navy Seals, and construction of cruisers and amphibious ships to be based in San Diego."
The bill, H.R. 1960, passed the House last Friday and is currently awaiting Senate consideration.
On June 19, SDSU's public broadcasting operation, KPBS, ran an expose of Democrat Peters's Republican opponent, former city councilman Carl DeMaio, questioning his campaign fundraising practices and sources.
inewsource and KPBS found one member of [DeMaio’s] coalition is the high-profile Americans for Prosperity, an outside spending group of billionaire conservative brothers Charles and David Koch that spent about $36.3 million in the 2012 federal elections.
The university's broadcast didn't disclose its interest in the Peters legislation and its other D.C. lobbying activities; a recent report by the Democratic congressman sheds some additional light.
On April 24, according to Peters second quarter campaign finance report, filed Monday, Carpi personally contributed $500 to Peters.
Less than two weeks earlier, on April 11, Downtown GOP Lincoln Club leader and lobbyist Paul Robinson, an SDSU alumnus who has served on the advisory board of its real estate school and on its president's council, as well as lobbied locally for the SDSU foundation, came up with $250 for the La Jolla Democrat's cause.
On April 29, Paul Eichen, listed CEO of Rokenbok Company gave a total of $5200 to Peters. He has also been a major donor to San Diego State, giving the university between $25,000 and $99,000 according to a donor recognition list posted online by the school.
In addition to retaining the Carpi and Robinson firms, the university also maintains an online "advocacy site," featuring a photo of Peters, along with a link to his email address and other contact information, encouraging school backers to do their own lobbying.
Welcome to San Diego State University's advocacy site. This is your opportunity to join with others to advocate on behalf of SDSU and the California State University. Together we can make a difference.
Please take a few minutes to send a strong message of support to our public officials and/or the media.
Peters spokesperson MaryAnne Pintar has not responded to a request for further details about the congressman’s fundraising activities left with her assistant yesterday morning.
More like this:
- Congressman Peters and the dark arts — Nov. 14, 2014
- Would Filner's doom be a Peters boon? — July 24, 2013
- Playing follow the money with DeMaio vs. Peters — June 26, 2013
- SDSU's expose of DeMaio coincides with Peters’ university support boast — June 19, 2013
- Government Funded San Diego State University Foundation Gives Big to Jerry Brown's Tax Hike Campaign — Sept. 26, 2012